India Back in Talks With Tellurian

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India has resumed talks with Tellurian LNG as the world’s fourth-largest LNG buyer wants to strike new term deals to secure supplies.

India’s Federal Oil Minister Hardeep Puri, along with the chairmen of state-owned refiners Indian Oil Corp. (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (BPCL) and gas pipeline utility Gail India met with Tellurian Chief Executive Officer Octavio Simoes in Houston.

Another Try

“We exchanged notes on the evolving gas markets and opportunities for Indian oil marketing companies to invest in Tellurian’s project in US," Puri, who has been in the US since Oct. 6, said in a Twitter post Tuesday.

Petronet LNG, India’s largest LNG buyer, signed an initial pact with Tellurian in September 2019 to negotiate the purchase of up to 5 million tons per year of LNG from the 27 million ton/yr Driftwood project.

At the time, a possible deal with Petronet appeared to be the last piece in the Driftwood puzzle, however, as LNG prices crashed and the markets turned surplus, the pact did not lead to any final deal. IOC, BPCL, and Gail each hold a 12.5% stake in Petronet.

The long-stalled Driftwood LNG project is now facing fresh headwinds following a failed financing attempt and the loss of two offtakers — Shell and Vitol. Despite the spike in LNG prices and tight markets, analysts are not hopeful the Driftwood project will succeed.

US in the Mix

The percentage of US LNG among India's imports soared from 1.7% in 2016, to 16% in 2021, falling back to 10% for year-to-date 2022, according to Kpler.

India has a target to raise the share of gas in its energy mix to 15% by 2030, up from 6.3% currently. But its goal is being undermined by the sharp spike in LNG prices that has led to imports falling 14% on year during the January-August period, according to the International Energy Agency’s latest gas outlook.

With 16 million tons imported year to date, according to Kpler, Indian imports are off to their slowest 10-month start since 2017.

Energy consultancy FGE, in a note last month, said that India’s LNG demand could be hit in coming years due to high prices, but will rise to 51.9 million tons in 2030 from an estimated 21.6 million tons in 2022 as prices cool.

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